Sadler claims Nationwide Series pole at Talladega

Story Highlights

  • Elliott Sadler hands KHI the pole
  • KHI takes Talladega front row
  • Kevin Harvick will start from second position

When you get the pole at Talladega, it just shows how hard my guys worked.

Elliott Sadler

When it comes to restrictor plate racing, it doesn't usually matter where you start. Even so, Kevin Harvick Inc. can relish in the fact that it claimed both front row starting spots for Saturday's Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway during Friday afternoon's pole qualifying session.

Series regular Elliott Sadler claimed the pole with a lap at an average speed of 179.558 mph. It wasn't until the final car among the 30 that had guaranteed starting spots for Saturday's race that KHI claimed the other front row spot. The second starting spot was claimed by Clint Bowyer in KHI's No. 33 car with a lap time of 53.39 seconds at an average pace of 179.373 mph.

Bowyer may have been the last driver out of those with rides locked into the show, but car owner Kevin Harvick was the last out overall. He was not able to post a lap to claim a starting spot up front with his teammates.0 Instead, his fast lap of 53.79 seconds earned him a starting spot the 11th starting spot.

Aside from Sadler, Trevor Bayne was the only non-Sprint Cup Series driver to put his car in the top-five of the starting grid. His lap at an average speed of 178.427 was good enough for fifth.

Claiming spots right behind the all-KHI front row were Dale Earnhardt Jr in third after a 53.46-second lap and Jamie McMurray, fourth with a lop of 178.560 mph.

Elliott Sadler
Elliott Sadler

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

With starting positions not so important in the grand scheme of things at Talladega and with only 43 cars attempting qualifying runs on Friday the stress level to get the best lap possible wasn't as much of an issue as usual.

Series regular Reed Sorenson opted to only make one lap during qualifying, even though his first lap was faster than any other competitor's first lap of qualifying to that point, and for the rest of the qualifying session, for that matter. Sorenson ended up with the 13th starting spot.

According to Sorenson, the move to run only one lap during qualifying was planned ahead of time. He said when he made mock qualifying runs during practice on Thursday, his time didn't pick up much on lap two. As a result, his Turner Motorsports team didn't see the point of running the second lap.

After running what he considered to be slow during practice. Kyle Busch decided to take drastic measures to make his qualifying lap more fun and entertaining. While several qualifiers ran down on the apron for a short time on the front stretch during their laps, Busch took that move a step further. He ran around the apron, below the yellow line, through much of his qualifying laps, even on the back stretch.

"Just something fun to do," Busch said after his qualifying run.

He also joked that he wanted to find out if the shortest distance really was the quickest. It wasn't. Busch's out of the ordinary laps, the fastest taking 54.16 seconds, resulted in a 22nd-place starting spot.